Jump to search Jump to main navigation Jump to main content Jump to footer navigation

Global Security Newswire

Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues

Produced by
NationalJournal logo

Myanmar Intends to Build 'Research' Atomic Reactors: Minister

Honor guards attend a military ceremony in Yangon last week. The Burmese government this week announced it intends to construct atomic reactors to support civilian scientific research. Honor guards attend a military ceremony in Yangon last week. The Burmese government this week announced it intends to construct atomic reactors to support civilian scientific research. (Ye Aung Thu/AFP/Getty Images)

Myanmar announced on Monday that it intends to build an atomic reactor to support civilian scientific research, The Nation reported.

"We need a nuclear reactor for research use as it is very useful in various fields, such as health, agriculture and livestock breeding," Burmese Science and Technology Union Minister Ko Ko Oo said in remarks to lawmakers.

The reactor would not be built until Myanmar first acquires the necessary skills to safely operate it, according to the government figure.

"To develop nuclear technology, infrastructure is also necessary to prevent radiation and proliferation of nuclear weapons," Ko Ko Oo said. "We are trying to develop human resources to acquire nuclear technology."

Myanmar is working with the International Atomic Energy Agency to develop a nuclear program, he said.

The Southeast Asian country previously came under suspicion by some independent experts and foreign governments that it was illicitly collaborating with North Korea to create the rudiments of a nuclear arms program. Since coming to power in 2011, the nominally civilian-run government in Naypyidaw has worked to dispel those concerns. In 2013, Myanmar acceded to the U.N. nuclear watchdog's Additional Protocol, which permits more intrusive and snap IAEA inspections of declared and suspected atomic facilities.

Ko Ko Oo said a national law would have to be passed before the construction of nuclear reactors would be permitted.

A nascent 2007 agreement with Russia to purchase two atomic energy reactors that would be powered by low-enriched uranium fell apart when the then-ruling Burmese military junta could not raise the funds to pay for the technology. The Burmese government later said in 2011 that it had no plans to try pursuing another atomic energy program, out of a desire to avoid ruffling international feathers.

Note to our Readers

GSN ceased publication on July 31, 2014. Its articles and daily issues will remain archived and available on NTI’s website.

NTI Analysis

  • Ukraine Must Not Become a New Berlin Wall

    March 13, 2014

    On Friday, March 14, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meet to discuss the crisis in Ukraine. Five statesmen from Germany, Poland, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States call for the urgent formation of a Contact Group of Foreign Ministers to address the crisis and more broadly, create a new approach to building mutual security in the Euro-Atlantic region.

  • Reframing the Nuclear De-alerting Debate: Towards Maximizing Presidential Decision Time

    Dec. 11, 2013

    This issue brief explores the risks of accidental launch, unauthorized use or miscalculation posed by U.S. and Russian alert nuclear forces. The brief also considers various policy options, both implemented and proposed, to minimize these risks and maximize the time available to the U.S. president to decide whether or not to authorize nuclear war.

Country Profile

Flag of Myanmar


This article provides an overview of Myanmar’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.

Learn More →